Trigeminal neuralgia (facial pain) is defined as an inflammation of the trigeminal nerve that causes extreme pain and muscle spasms in the face. Facial pain may be accompanied by other symptoms that vary depending on the disease, disorder or condition. The common symptoms that occur in the head and neck region include;
- Difficulty swallowing
- Facial weakness
- Blurred or double vision
- Droopy eyelids
- Neck stiffness
- Enlarged lymph nodes
- Nasal congestion
- Neck stiffness
- Painful teeth
What Causes Facial Pain
Facial pain includes injuries subjected to the nerves or bones that carry out many facial actions. The injuries include trauma to the face as well as maxillary bone that is caused by car accident, sports injury or physical violence. This condition comes with extreme facial pain that feels like burning or an electric shock. The pain may become extreme such that daily activities like eating, chewing, or teeth brewing can be agonizing.
Other major causes of facial pain include Parkinson’s disease and Bell’s palsy. Bell’s palsy leads to numbness and paralysis on one side of the face. Symptoms of Parkinson’s include facial tremors or twitches as well as paralysis of the facial muscles that leads to rigid, masklike appearance. Facial pain can also be caused sinusitis and inflammation of the sinuses.
Who is affected by Facial Pain?
Facial pain is known to affect one in every 25,000 people. It occurs more in women than men. Most of the patients are middle age and even older while those with multiple sclerosis also develop trigeminal neuralgia.
How is Diagnosis of Facial Pain Made?
If a person experiences facial pain, it is advisable to consult a Colorado pain management doctor. In case the pain needs further evaluation, the person may opt for a neurologist or a neurosurgeon. The doctor will carry out some tests on the patient by touching the areas on your face to identify the exact area where the pain is occurring.
In most cases, there are few cases of facial pain. However, the chances of tumor or multiple sclerosis are rare. Therefore, a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan is recommended. An MRI scan can detect any blood vessels that compresses the nerve. The process of diagnosis of facial pain is made after an assessment of the patients.
What are the Treatment Option for Facial Pain?
Various treatment for facial pain are available including needle procedures, medication, radiation and surgery. If all these treatment options fail to control facial pain, a neurosurgeon can be consulted.
Over the counter medications such as ibuprofen and aspirin are not quite effective against facial pain. The most common drugs prescribed for this are anticonvulsants and muscle relaxants which help block the pain signals from the nerve. Medications for facial pain are the initial treatment and are used as long the pain is controlled and the side effects do not cause any interference with the activities of the patient.
Needle procedures are regarded as minimally invasive techniques which are done to reach the trigeminal nerve through the face without any skin incision. This procedure is performed with a hollow needle which is inserted through the skin of the cheek into the trigeminal nerve near the skull. The main purpose of injection procedures is to damage a certain area of the trigeminal nerve in order to prevent it from sending pain signals directly to the brain.
Once the nerve is damaged, the nerve causes mild numbness in the area which is an expected outcome of the procedure to achieve long-term pain relief. This procedure is performed under local anaesthesia.
Colorado Clinic offers comprehensive nonoperative treatment for trigeminal neuralgia. Medications and interventional procedures are offered, with success rates that are exceptional. There are 3 locations for Colorado pain management including Greeley, Loveland and Boulder. Call today!